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Benjamin Randall

1749-1808. Founder and organizer of Freewill Baptists. Born in New Castle, New Hampshire, he early went to sea with his sailor father, and became a sailmaker. Three sermons by George Whitefield* and the shock of Whitefield's death converted him in 1770. He became a Congregationalist, but immersionist Arminian views led him in 1776 to become a Baptist. He joined in 1778 an Arminian Baptist church in New Durham, New Hampshire, where by 1780 he was ordained and organized a Free Baptist Church. He drew up the covenant which became the basis for the later Freewill Baptist Church. His ardent evangelism won so many that by 1783 he organized a quarterly and in 1792 a yearly meeting of his group. When he died, there were about 6,000 adherents.